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Predicting the Probability of Contamination in Colorado's Ground Water by Atrazine and Nitrate

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Predicting the Probability of Contamination in Colorado's Ground Water by Atrazine and Nitrate

Study Area: Statewide
Period of Project: January 2001-September 2002
Project Number: CO421
Project Chief: Michael G. Rupert
Cooperator: Colorado Department of Agriculture, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension


Draft Federal regulations may require that each State develop a State Pesticide Management Plan for the herbicides atrazine, alachlor, metolachlor, and simazine. This study will develop maps that the State of Colorado might use to predict the predisposition of atrazine and desethyl-atrazine (a breakdown product of atrazine) contamination in ground water in Colorado. These maps can be incorporated in the State Pesticide Management Plan and help provide a sound hydrogeologic basis for atrazine management in Colorado. Maps showing the predisposition of elevated nitrate concentrations in ground water in Colorado were also developed because nitrate is a contaminant of concern in many areas in Colorado.


This project is intended to provide a consistent, quantitative, statewide approach to construct maps which predict the predisposition of ground water in Colorado to contamination by atrazine and elevated concentrations of nitrate.

The maps produced by this project will be based on statistical correlations between ground-water quality and anthropogenic and hydrogeologic data using logistic regression. The effectiveness of the maps will be verified through statistical correlations with an independent set of ground-water quality data.

These maps are intended to be utilized by the Colorado Pesticide Management Plan to highlight areas in greatest need of ground-water protection, to focus ground-water monitoring programs in areas with the greatest likelihood of contamination, and to provide an educational tool to enhance public awarness of the need for ground-water protection in Colorado.

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